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Priority questions: Microbial biofilms
9 February 2021

NEWS RELEASE:

International biofilm centres launch priority questions exercise

The National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC), Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE), Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), COST AMiCI Consortium and the ESCMID Study Group for Biofilms (ESGB) are pleased to announce the launch of their international and collaborative and community-wide call to identify emerging issues in science, innovation and policy for the biofilm field.

To date, there has not been an international and community-wide synthesis of key questions and priority research or innovation areas for the biofilm field. Such exercises can play a critical role in bridging the gap between the data generated by researchers, and the information needed by policymakers to make funding or regulatory decisions. 

“As a global campaign, we hope to tap on the crowd intelligence and creativity to crowdsource for questions on biofilm matters. Anyone can contribute to future research on biofilms which in turn can solve global challenges in urban and environmental sustainability, public health and industry,” says Prof Staffan Kjelleberg, SCELSE centre director.

Questions should be submitted via the Biofilms Priority Questions Exercise online form by 31 March 2021. 

The international group are calling for support from the biofilm community to help identify important questions that, if answered, will make a considerable impact on the fundamentals of the field of microbial biofilms, to innovation in technologies and other approaches to prevent, detect, manage and engineer biofilms, or which would be expected to have an impact in influencing policy makers andfunders. 

 All submissions will be pre-screened for duplication before being grouped into themes when the call closes in March. Thematic focus groups including scientists from research and industry, policymakers and other stakeholders, will meet to organise subsets of related questions and finalise a set of priority questions to form the basis for a position paper, which will be published as a resource for the field. This is expected to help set the agenda for future research in the field of microbial biofilms as well as have impact in areas of policy and outreach.

The Priority Questions Exercise was formed by the international centres following on from the success of the 2019 Biofilm Bash meeting which took place in the US. Among the many outcomes of this meeting, it was identified that increased interdisciplinary and international networking would be beneficial and that the larger centres can and should play a role in catalysing these interactions, which would bring additional value (e.g., in leveraging international funding initiatives). 

To hear more about taking part in the Biofilms Priority Questions initiative process please get in touch at priorityquestions@biofilms.ac.uk

If you are able to support the promotion this initiative, you can find a number of digital assets available on NBIC’s #BiofilmAware hub to share with your scientific community.